How To Bond With Your Cat Using Playtime

Cats Will Play

Cats Will Play

Playing with your cat can have several advantages for your pet’s health and wellbeing. As well as helping your cat to stay stimulated and maintaining a healthy weight, playtime is also a great way to bond with your cat.

There are recommended ways to approach playtime to ensure that your cat is likely to be receptive to your bonding efforts. Here are some tips for using playtime to forge a stronger relationship with your cat.

Know Your Cat’s Playing Style

Not all cats want to play in the same way. Some will need to be explicitly encouraged to engage in playtime, while others will happily make their own fun. Some examples include:

Hunter: Cats in this category are often energetic in nature and can be highly receptive to games that appeal to their predatory instincts. Games that allow him or her to pounce on their prey can work well and this can be as simple as chasing a piece of string or a fishing pole toy.

Self-Starter: Cats in this category will often actively initiate their own games with inanimate objects and are therefore easy to entice into play.

Reluctant: Some cats are not very receptive to games and it can be challenging to work out how best to encourage them into playtime. This can be particularly true if your cat has previously led a sedentary lifestyle and has not been used to playtime.  You may find that a quieter natured cat prefers to use cat trees and towers for exploration and play.

Playtime Tips

Cats can get bored easily, especially if there is little or no challenge involved in the game. Don’t just dangle the toy in front of your cat – this will not appeal to their hunting instinct. Instead, give your cat the opportunity to stage a planned out “attack” of the “prey” – much the same as in the wild. Letting your cat win the game will also reduce the probability that he or she will lose interest quickly. At the same time, it’s important not to make things too easy.

To keep things fresh, it’s a good idea to vary the toys that you use to play with your cat. Retiring toys for a week or two can prevent them from getting boring. The exception to this rule comes if your cat has a toy that is particularly favoured as this could cause anxiety and distress.

Make sure that play is supervised if there is a risk that your cat might swallow the toy (e.g. a length of string).

How have you used playtime to form a closer bond with your cat? Share your tips in the comments section below!

[Photo credits:  Jezlyn26]

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